Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vegan Dinner Party!

Hi, everyone! I’m back from my wonderful week of vacation at my sister’s home in Alabama. The highlight of the trip was hosting a vegan dinner party. We spent the whole day cooking and had a blast. Thanks to all of you who offered recipe suggestions. We decided on a Mexican theme because we love it, and frankly, good Mexican food is hard to come by in Alabama. Your hosts/chefs:

For our entrée, we chose the oh-so delicious Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado from Eat Drink & Be Vegan.

For our sides we made Messy Rice from Vcon and added in fresh cilantro for a Mexican flair, and a tossed green salad. We plated for our guests and the plates were beautiful.

Here’s our table. You can tell which is my seat by the bowl of broccoli.

Yes, those are margaritas next to some of the plates. The meal was fabulous and our guests loved their dinners.

They also loved the TWO desserts we made. I selected recipes from Vcon which I had made before and knew would be a hit. One was my favorite, Apple Peanut Caramel Bars.

The other was my sister’s favorite, Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding.

Needless to say, the desserts received rave reviews. After dinner the ladies asked for recipes, looked through the cookbooks I had brought with me, and asked me lots of questions about my diet. They said I inspired them to eat healthier, so I’m hopeful I truly did.

My sister had recently bought a Blendtec blender and received a set of All Clad cookware for Christmas. We cooked and ate a LOT and had so much fun together in the kitchen. And my little nephews are enjoying green smoothies every day! During the week I also made Hide the Lentils Spaghetti Sauce from ED&BV (forgot to take a picture) which everyone liked. And we made two soups. Boy, that Blendtec really makes some creamy soup. One was a butternut squash (not vegan because it was made with chicken broth).

The other was Potato Leek Soup from Urban Vegan. (Sorry for the steamy picture.)

Now I need to get off the sweets and back on my diet… again!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge - Satay

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

I made this challenge the day after coming off my detox. The only requirement to this challenge was to marinade, so I took that quite literally. I chose to prepare Portobello mushrooms in the marinade recipe given (without the oil). I put my mushroom in a big plastic bag.

I made the marinade.

And then I poured the marinade into the bag and let it do its thing in the fridge for a couple of hours.

I didn’t skewer the mushrooms, just pan seared them.

Before I got the mushrooms in the pan, I made myself a side dish of Swiss chard. First I cooked the stems with a bunch of onion.

Then I added in the whole bunch of greens.

Those brown mushrooms needed some color. The final product was beautiful and delicious!

I’m posting from my sister’s home in Alabama so if this format looks weird I apologize. I still want to hear your “must make” recipe ideas for our vegan dinner party!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Detox Success

The 7-day detox went quite well. The goal was to shed a few pounds and get the sugar out of my system. The sugar cravings are gone, my appetite is down, and I lost 9 pounds. And I feel great! The first couple of days I was a little tired, but the rest of the time I had so much energy I could hardly sleep. The detox diet was strictly raw fruits and veggies. The hardest part was no salt. The next hardest part was no hot food during the coldest weather in 25 years. And I missed cooking. I really wasn’t ever hungry until the final day. Here’s what I ate in one form or another last week.

The seasoning is Bragg's salt free blend. I alway tossed very well before digging in!

These berries are defrosing and were delicious when ready. Some fresh fruits I ate were apples, pears, blueberries, and bananas.

Wednesday my mom and I leave for Alabama to visit my sister and her family for a week. I will be in charge of healthy vegan dinners. I will also be cooking for at least one, but possibly two dinner parties for omni guests interested in becoming vegan. I would really appreciate your recommended recipes – your own or from cookbooks – to wow my family and friends. I’m packing Vcon, Urban Vegan, and Dreena’s books to take with me.

PS: I’m still trying to catch up with all of your blogs. I’m doing the best I can while going to work and packing!

PSS: I just clicked on the new Go Vegan blog in the Foodbuzz box and it crashed my computer. Did this happen to anyone else?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Happy New Year! Time to Detox

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays as much as I did. After finally finding some time to sit at my computer, I need to catch you up on my holiday eats, so here goes.

Christmas Eve Chili with beans, butternut squash, carrots, corn, peppers. So good we even served leftovers for Christmas dinner.

Christmas dinner contributions – mashed potatoes

Shredded Brussels sprouts with cranberries and pecans (Alton Brown recipe)

Tuscan Braised Beans from Urban Vegan (completely awesome)

And treats – gingerbread men (from leftover house dough)

Cherry and Pecan loaf

Mint chip cookies (obviously not vegan)

Banana Oat Bundles (from Vive), half with dried cranberries, half with mini chocolate chips

And my New Year’s Day dinner – blackeyed peas with brown rice, bok choy for greens, and broccoli because I always eat broccoli for dinner.

I enjoyed way too many treats during the holidays and found myself in serious need of a sugar detox. So I signed on for a Seven Day Detox with The Raw Divas. I began Saturday and feel so much better – yay! I’m eating only raw fruits and veggies. It’s not difficult, but I do miss cooking. I moved my mixer off the counter and replaced it with the blender to make green smoothies. Oh, and salt. I do miss a sprinkling of flavored sea salt on my veggies. I mentioned on my last post that I got a new camera for Christmas. Now even my boring salads can look yummy.

Or a handful of almonds.

See you next time with lots of salads….